Weeki Wachee to Gainesville ... Thoughts from the Road

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Saturday we rode 105 miles from Weeki Wachee to Gainesville, combining two ride days into one solely so that we might watch UNC play Duke whilst surrounded by beers in a bar. I am going to share with you 105ish thoughts I had throughout the day. Remember these things:

  1. Brady is filming a documentary about Keys to Freeze.
  2. We met this man, Murray Fishel, for lunch. Since retiring some 20 years ago Murray has ridden 133,000 unsupported miles, and shares his experiences with the cycling community as a writer.

So. Here it begins.

4:45 – What time is it? Fuck. That’s early.

4:46 – I wish Brady would get that camera out of my face.

4:48 – My pee smells bad. Oh. It looks bad. Like a, like a … yellow highlighter with sharpie streaks in it.

4:58 – Why is Brady still following me around, filming? How long have I been staring at this coffee pot? How do I even turn the thing on? Oh. On. Got it.

5:20 – Man. I’ve got to poop.

6:15 – Sure do wish the sun would come up. Guess I should stretch or something. Mmmph. Chafed bigtime. Maybe I’ll just lie on the carpet and stare at the fan.

6:40 – Okay, bike, Q*bert, you big heavy sumbitch. Let’s load you up. Left back panier, right front panier, right back panier—Q! Don’t you fall over on me!—and left front panier. Now strap on the tent, pump your tires, and … shoot.

6:40 – I forgot to unpack my tuna fish. No way I’m going in after it.

6:55 – We ready?

6:59 – We’re off. Brr. It’s pretty cold. Very windy. I wonder if we’ll have a tailwind since we’re going northeast today?

7:08 – 500 miles! Dance party around George!

7:11 – Alright. Now we ride hard.

7:12 – Where does Brady think he’s going?

7:14 – Phone Call. Brad. You’re going the wrong way.

7:16 – Nope definitely a headwind the whole way.

7:18 – I’ve got to pee.

7:24 – Lost our shoulder, heavy construction, massive headwind, busy road. I’ve got to pee, poop, burp, and sneeze. And Tyler’s singing Frankie Valli.

7:45 – Oh good, a tree. I’ve got to pull over and pee.

7:46 – Ahhhhhh … ohhhhhh. That’s a highway patrol office I’m peeing next to.

8:09 – How far have we gone? Six miles? Are you kidding me?

8:15 – I’m tired.

The next hour is spent pretending to be surfer bros from California with Tyler. I have no thoughts other than those of Donnie, high school pro-am with a gnarly board and the chillest vibes that can cut through even the harshest haters around.

9:17 – What is this? A hill? Attack!

9:18 – Pull back! Pull back! This is much more difficult than I imagined!

9:40 – Oh no. Oh no. Another hill?

9:41 – Why is Tyler so good at climbing hills? Oh, yeah. Because his thighs are each the size of my waist. He’s like a bull. Bull Tyler.

10:00 – Hey. It’s kind of pretty out here. I didn’t know Florida had farmlands. That’s pretty neat.

10:02 – A cow! Mooooo! Moooo! Whoa. Cows out here seem exceptionally stupid. Moooo!

10:15 – Ah, the Withlacoochee Trail. 46 miles of pure bike path baby. Surfs up, dude!

10:17 – Oh man, the headwind … harshing out real hard on my ride vibes.

10:22 – Hey Tyler, want to recite every scene from the Princess Bride? Yeah buddy. So there’s a sick Fred Savage and he’s playing a baseball video game ….

10:31 – THE CLIFFS OF INSANITY!

10:33 – Who are you? No one of consequence. Really, I must know. Get used to disappointment.

10:42 – Who is this guy whispering Deadhorse, Alaska as we ride by. Oh! Oh snap! That’s Murray!

10:46 – I’m bonking. Hard. Need pancakes and coffee.

10:55 – Well, I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer cottage here.

11:03 – The bustling town of Floral City. Shamrock Café, bingo. Let’s post up here and get some grubs.

11:05 – Ah. So the owner of the Irish bar and restaurant in middle of nowhere Florida is German? Makes sense to me.

11:09 – Coffee. Yes. Yes! Oh God, YES!

11:22 – Murray’s been doing a lot of biking these past twenty years … like 7,000 unsupported miles of riding a year. That’s more than I drive. Wow. Way to go Murray.

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11:30 – Pancakes. Sausage. Eggs. Grits. Bippity boppity boom. Coffee coffee coffee.

11:34 – Well, that was good.

11:44 – When was the last time I peed?

11:50 – Hm. We still have 72 more miles to go. That is, in scientific terms, a dickload of miles.

11:54 – Alright. On the bike. Dear dear. My legs.

11:55 – Mawwige. Mawwige is what bwings us togetha, today.

11:58 – HALLO! MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA! YOU KILLED MY FATHER, PREPARE TO DIE.

12:01 – As you wish.

Tyler falls back and rides with Brady and Rachel for a while. I listen to Wu Tang Clan and ride up ahead, enjoying some of my first miles on the road that are by myself. The bike path is wide, and quiet, and I think about our first ten days on the road. At times I get distracted.

12:10 – We’re doing really well.

12:11 – I really like our group.

12:12 – That’s a weird looking squirrel.

12:14 – I wonder what Gainesville is like. College!

12:15 – I’m so lucky to be out here right now. This is amazing.

12:16 – I’m horny.

12:41 – Ah. Hello US-41. We meet again, you sallow, saggy, misused wench.

12:44 – I hate you, US-41.

12:47 – Hey Megan & George! Glad you’re up here with me … hey. Cool road, right?

1:11 – Cows! Mooooo! Moooo! Mooo! Dumb cows.

1:21 – I really wish I had that tuna fish handy. I could go for a peanut butter, tuna fish tortilla with some crumbled brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts right about now.

1:22 – Really, though. How dehydrated am I? I haven’t peed in like, hours.

1:47 – Hooray! We’re off 41 and on a … sandy road.

1:48 – Hello again, 41.

1:50 – Ty-Guy! Glad to see you! Let’s crush, dude.

2:22 – A gas station! Let’s stop. I’m going to sit on a toilet until I pee.

2:30 – Success. Now. Time to get that tuna fish.

2:42 – Mm. Good food, good times … but I’m still hungry. I saw they sell Hunks of Pizza inside.

2:43 – Hello, gas station attendant. What’s a Hunk? Yes, I see it’s pizza. How much is a Hunk? No, I mean what size? No, I mean … how big? A quarter of a pizza = 1 Hunk? Sold.

In the time it took to understand and then purchase a Hunk the rest of the group converged on this gas station. We summarily laid claim to a large section of the station’s stoop and spread our food and bodies across the cement for the next half hour.

3:13 – I don’t want to ride anymore.

3:14 – I really don’t want to ride anymore.

3:15 – Damn. Fine. Let’s go.

4:00 – Williston is a ghost town. What happened?

4:05 – Gainesville, sixteen miles baby!

4:06 – Cows! Cows! Donkeys! Horses! Cows! Moooooo!

4:07 – Yo! Tyler! Look at that field, man. Check out the big trees with the Spanish moss flowing in the wind with the sun framed behind it! This is living, dude! Life is here! This is it!

5:00 – In town, feeling good. 100 miles and counting.

5:02 – Wait. No. I’m really tired.

5:04 – Florida’s campus is huge. How many people go here? 50,000? Dude. That’s like the size of my hometown.

5:15 – That’s a football stadium? It looks like a half-submerged Death Star.

5:30 – We’re here! We’re here! 105 miles baby in the bank!

Thoughts from the road. And that’s a wrap. In Gainesville for Sunday … and then we’re hitting it hard all the way up into and through the Panhandle.

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